Once the exclusive domain of the C-suite, internal branding — a state in which employees fully grasp and live by a business’s values — is now a critical component at every level of a company.
Create an Appealing Glass Box
Businesses have transformed from black boxes into glass boxes, with all parts visible to those who look inside. This box is your company brand — and should be one worth looking into.
A responsible, approachable brand evolves from a work culture that is honest and accessible from the inside out. We live in a deeply interconnected world. Stakeholders and consumers not only know what products and services they’re buying into — they know the people they’re getting it from, are familiar with the processes, ethics, mission and values that are the company’s brand.
Such is the proverbial glass box. Businesses today are made or broken by their culture’s reputation, and your company’s branding depends in no insignificant way on its internal brand.
Develop Your Culture
Creating a link between a business’s workforce and its shared beliefs first entails creating work “intimacy” — that family feeling. A sense of belonging and adherence to a shared mission and values will pay dividends throughout your company — in hiring, in productivity and in innovation. When employees genuinely believe in their company, they become natural brand ambassadors.
Tip: Social media can help employees feel connected, and is often the easiest way for them to spread your messages.
Invest in Your Brand
Building trust to reap the rewards of a successful brand starts from within. Businesses with formal employee engagement programs report 26% more year-over-year revenue increases than those without. Internal branding is an integral part of that formula. But how to achieve this?
- Use two-way communication. Be open with staff and request honest feedback in return.
- Solve real problems with tech.
- Communicate with a human voice.
- Be transparent.
Build Your Own Army of Brand Ambassadors
Disseminate your mission, vision, values and brand positioning as widely as possible. Think how you can reach your internal audience to live and breathe those values on a daily basis.
- Showcase employees living these values. Create short videos to present these ideas on a microsite, which should be a destination brand center for people to use. Display case studies. Distribute a staff pocket guide outlining the company brand and values. Allow employees at every level to self identity with brand attributes.
- Up your corporate social responsibility platform, communication and reporting strategy.
- Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Use internal channels to push this message out, repeatedly, in new and exciting ways. It takes many interactions with a message for people to internalize it. Saying it again and again in multiple ways means you’ll be heard.
Internal branding should be executed top-down and bottom-up, entry-level to management. Aligning the whole company on a single page results in tangible benefits including positive Glassdoor reviews, higher performance and innovation, and deeper internal trust in the company.
This article was inspired by the 2017 Financial Communications Society conference on “The Power of Culture in Financial Branding.”
Struggling to effectively build your brand? Ideas On Purpose can help.